Parents of teenagers and those who have children quickly approaching the teenage years are generally concerned about how old the appropriate age is for their teens to begin dating. If you’re looking for a straight to-the-point answer to this question, you aren’t going to get one in this article. The reason is because teenage dating is a complex issue and the appropriate age for dating to begin varies from teen to teen. However, below you will find guidelines to help you determine whether or not your teenager is mature enough to begin the dating process.
Why Do They Want to Date? The first thing your teens need to be able to tell you is why they want to go out on dates. Some teens think that this is just something they are supposed to do because all of their friends are doing it. Others may think it’s the only way to go out and have fun. However, these are not good reasons for wanting to go out on dates. The more acceptable and mature answer is because they have met someone they really like and would like to get to know better. Teenagers should have a genuine appreciation for the goal behind dating. Dating is actually the same thing as courting and should be viewed the same. Dating is designed to let two people get to know each other better so they can determine whether or not they are right for each other. While this may be a bit deep for your teen to grasp, they should be able to have a decent understanding of this concept when they begin dating – if they don’t, then they probably aren’t mature enough yet to begin dating. if you find that they are in fact ready to begin dating, be sure to also inform your teen about dating and abuse issues.
How Do They Handle Responsibility? Before you make the decision to let your teen date, you need to consider how well your teen handles his or her current responsibilities. For example, does he or she have a problem getting homework done, practicing for extracurricular activities, getting chores done at home, etc. All of this is important because if your teen isn’t mature enough to handle all of these normal responsibilities, then more than likely, he or she isn’t mature enough to add dating to the mix either.
How Is Their Decision Making? Another important aspect to consider in regards to teenage dating is how well your teen’s decision making is. Is your teen independent and able to make mature decision in tough situations? For example, if all of your teen’s friends get caught for cheating on an exam, was your teen able to withstand the peer pressure and say no or was your teen one of the ones caught cheating? If your teen isn’t able to make the right decisions around his or her peers, then it will be even harder when they are dating and hormones come into play. So, keep this in mind too.
Do You Trust Your Teen? The final thing involved for parents making the teenage dating decision is whether or not you trust your teenager. Of course, your teen is just a teenager and will make mistakes here and there, but no one knows him or her better than you do. So, bottom line – do you trust your teen to make the right decisions when on a date? If you can’t confidently say “yes” to this question then it’s most likely because, deep down, you don’t feel your teen is mature enough to begin dating. Before you allow your teen to date, you have to feel that they are mature enough for it – no matter how old they are.
Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen This toolkit offers parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen